Occupy World: Canadians Take to the Streets!
By Hwaa Irfan
Seemingly quiet, conservative secular Canada has managed to suppress the voice of their indigenous communities, but what has been bubbling unde the surface has erupted when it comes to Canadians in general.
Away from the global eye, as business carries on with greater intensity in order to secure the resources that lead to continued wealth and power of the global financial elite, it has not been business as usual for the ordinary man, woman, and child – the creators of the real wealth.
Following in the tracks of their British counterparts to some extent, Canadian students have taken to the streets to protest against rising cost of higher education – pricing many out of education, as in the U.S. where in 2011, 53% of all U.S. college graduates 25- were either unemployed or underemployed.
Caught between taking one’s place in the world, as defined by the state, and the means to do so, protests of thousands of students have erupted in Quebec and Montreal. A 75% jump in education fees is enough to boil any students blood, but when one ponders on it, it just does not make sense to increase higher education fees so high, so that students cannot afford to proceed with their education, so it does not necessarily follow from a local authority point of view that the jump can help offset the current budget deficit of US$184bn unless there is another intention!
Whatever, that 75% jump is spread over 5 years, in an area with the lowest fees, but with the strongest student movement! The virtual olive branch of an expanded student loans program just puts students more in debt, with the clear cut example of the U.S., which has a student loan debt crisis of U.S.$1trn! As higher education becomes more about making money than providing education, the students of francophile Canada are fighting for more than conservative Anglophile Canada has markedly found acceptable!
As such, for weeks now, protests have been taking place, with frequent stand-offs between the student protestors and the heavily armed riot police at a time when elections are pending. Talking to some groups, and excluding others as formed the picture of divide and rule, leading to 85 arrests, and growing anger amongst the students.
As the protests became more violent, by 26 April, 2012, the protests were stamped illegal making the acts of violence seem more widespread than has been the case to facilitate a crackdown after government student talks broke down on 25 April, 2012 after the 11-week old dispute culminated in a mass protest on Friday 27th in Quebec at the city’s convention center, which has been holding a conference on an issue controversial to the indigenous peoples of Canada and environmentalists, namely development plans to increase energy production.
Enters the other protest in place, against the Kinder Morgan Energy Partners intention to expand oil routes/pipelines to the Asian market in order to decrease dependency on the U.S. market (70% of crude oil is exported to the U.S. currently). Government backed Enbridge involves a Northern Gateway pipeline that will transport oil from the controversial tar sands of Alberta, British Columbia.
As Canada increasinly takes on governance without the people approach, one may expect more protests for different reasons in a Canada that is divided on many levels!
“Thousands of Canadian Students Protest Fee Hike” http://rt.com/news/canada-student-arrests-protests-088/